Anthony Bourdain tours Houston's diverse culinary scene in 'Parts Unknown'


HOUSTON – CNN’s Emmy-winning show host, bestselling author and world-renowned chef, Anthony Bourdain, broke down all stereotypes of Texas Sunday night when he visited Houston in his show “Parts Unknown.”

Houston has been rated as one of the most diverse cities in Texas, but that reputation also follows with false stereotypes within the South.

“Intolerant, prejudiced, close-minded,” Bourdain said in one preview clip.

“I’m talking about me, not Texas. Because Houston, anyway, is completely different than I kind of thought and maybe you kind of thought.”

Bourdain explored “unexpected” diverse cuisines in the Lone Star state such as Tex-Mex, barbecue, Cajun and Congolese. He was even surprised to find Indian and Pakistani immigrant chefs who’ve combined their traditional food.

In one clip, Slim Thug had showed Bourdain the Trill side of the dirty south’s signature candy paint “slab” line of cars, which wowed Bourdain.

Bourdain enjoyed East Texas barbecue at Burns BBQ with Slim Thug. He explained the history of the restaurant and described what syrup means -- a Houston “sip and lean” beverage made of codeine-promethazine cough syrup mixed with Sprite.

Bourdain visited Keemat Grocers, located on Hillcroft, where the owner, Sunil Thakkar described Keemat Grocers as “the best Little India in the country.” Bourdain watched as people performed Bollywood dances in the aisles of the store.

His third visit was in Palacios, where he enjoyed a Vietnamese restaurant, bait shop and convenience store. The operation is run by immigrants who settled in the city after they fled the violence in Vietnam in 1974. Bourdain had migas-style tacos, ceviche and pho, along with other signature dishes.

Even Houston's cafeteria food has a reputation.

Lee High School prepared potato wedges and chicken sandwiches for Bourdain as he washed everything down with a carton of chocolate milk. After his meal, he spoke with immigrant students who had recently migrated from other countries. This discussion revealed how much diversity is in Houston.

Bourdain's last stop occurred at Plant It Forward Farms. The owners, Albert and Gertrude Lombo, made a Cajun-Congolese buffet that was home-grown. As everyone enjoyed their meal, they expressed how Houston has a variety of cultures to enjoy.

Bourdain left Houston with a new understanding that erased all the stereotypes he had believed about the South and impressed with how Houston lives up to its name as one of the most diverse cities in America.

“So ignore what you see on the news. This is apparently, judging from Houston, a wonderland of the strange and diverse,” Bourdain said.

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Award-winning journalist, mother, YouTuber, social media guru, millennial, mentor, storyteller, University of Houston alumna and Houston-native.